While the main locker room — where the best of the Green Bay Packers get dressed — was almost empty about 20 minutes after Thursday's preseason finale, most of the players lingered in the auxiliary locker room. This, after all, probably was the last taste of the NFL for most of them.
The final roster cutdown from 75 players to 53 must be made by 5 p.m. Saturday. Most of the players in The Green Mile — named for the movie of the same name about death-row inmates — will be among the 22 turning in their playbooks.
Redemption for Allen
If Jake Allen never plays in another NFL game, at least he earned some redemption.
Allen's fourth-down bobble cost him and the Packers a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but he hauled in a touchdown pass with a leaping grab on the final play of regulation.
Allen, a Division III all-American at Mississippi College, is certainly an intriguing talent at 6-foot-4 and good speed. But his inconsistent hands make him a long shot even for the practice squad.
"Even if the decision is not made in my favor, I still feel satisfied," Allen said. He called his experience "real fun," adding, "Me coming from D-3, playing in front of these Packer fans, it's crazy."
A statement by Flynn
Matt Flynn entered training camp as something of an afterthought, even as a seventh-round draft pick who led his LSU Tigers to the national championship.
Aaron Rodgers was replacing a legend. The legend wanted to come back. Second-round pick Brian Brohm threw for 65 touchdowns and almost 10,000 yards in his three seasons as Louisville's starting quarterback.
Flynn, however, outperformed Brohm in every preseason game, and Thursday's was no different. He completed 8-of-13 passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns and rushed twice for 27 yards, including a key 21-yarder to convert third-and-forever.
Is he ready to lead in the regular season, if thrown in the fire?
"Well, you have to look at it as I'm still a rookie," the understated Flynn said. "I went through one preseason, got some experience under my belt, got some game time and live action. I feel good about it. I just got to keep making strides, got a lot of work to do. Just keep making strides and getting better."
Exclamation point for Lumpkin
Lumpkin was too tired to do a Lambeau Leap after scoring a touchdown against Cincinnati in the first preseason game. When he scored a two-point conversion on Thursday, he didn't miss the opportunity to join the fans.
Lumpkin's final audition for a surprise roster spot wasn't great, but it wasn't bad, either. The undrafted running back, whose career at Georgia was derailed by a series of injuries, rushed for 27 hard-earned yards on 10 rushes and added 33 yards on four catches. He finished the preseason with a team-high 153 rushing yards.
"My mind-set right now is to just sit here and wait for that phone call or just try and relax and keep my mind on other things," Lumpkin said.
Whatever happens, Lumpkin certainly has done enough here to warrant another chance elsewhere. He would prefer to stay in Green Bay, though.
"I little bit nervous, but excited at the same time," he said. "We had a chance to come down and almost win the game again. Just going out there and having fun with my teammates."
Painful preseason ending for Jansen
If one player was a sure bet to escape The Green Mile for a prized place in the main locker room, it was rookie long snapper J.J. Jansen.
Jansen had been practically flawless on snaps throughout training camp and the preseason, but he sustained a knee injury blocking for Jon Ryan on the punter's 34-yard run. Ryan's run was necessitated by a rare poor snap by Jansen.
Jansen's agent said the injury is a sprained knee ligament and Jansen should be fine for Week 1. If not, he likely will be placed on injured reserve because there is no flexibility on the roster to carry two long snappers until Jansen heals.
Bill Huber is editor of Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org